Before we get into the nuts and bolts of 'getting that job,' let me tell you right now that there are no
jobs in the music industry in the classic sense as there are in other industries. You have to create your own jobs and
your own career. There are many careers in many fields that are like that. Media careers tend to be like that
as well - journalism in particular, but also layout artists and film graphic artists tend to create their own careers and
their own jobs.
That does not mean that you can zoom off into cloud-cuckoo-land of ignoring the straights of the work society
and 'doing your own thing' whilst paying scant or no attention to the needs of the market place. If you are a
free-lancer, then every customer is also your employer.
Also, as a free-lancer, you are going to have to develop key relationships with producers, studios, artists,
A&R, managers, promoters and a whole host of others and talking to them for the first time may be very similar to
The music business is very much driven by word-of-mouth. You talk to people whose opinions you trust
and ask them who is good. They may tell you that so-and-so did a brilliant job of, say, mixing an album or editing some
film music and as you know what their standards are, you know what to expect from the people they recommend.
So it is with getting a gig as an engineer. The producer, agent, artist, manager or whatever, talks
to people and they recommend engineers that they know.
Most people imagine (or hope) that the next step after this is that the client calls up the engineer and
just gives him or her the gig.
The problem for the potential engineer is that the client will have been given several names and he has
to make a decision based on rates, experience and a whole host of other things that may include age, looks, temperament and
just about anything else you can name and imagine.
At this point, a good website is definitely a major asset. It should be simple and uncluttered and
feature examples of your work in the form of short and tasty snippets that will leave the client wanting to hear more.
These should be in good MP3 format that can be clicked on when required and should not play automatically, as this annoys
A website is like a brochure. It should give the client a flavour of what sort of a person you
are and what sort of an image you wish to create. It should definitely not involve massive multimedia presentations
on the front page, guaranteed to annoy people who just want to access the facts as quickly as possible. If you feel
that a massive multimedia presentation or a video is desirable, put it somewhere inside the website where it can be downloaded
by those who want to see it.
If the client likes what he or she sees, then they will start to talk to you about the project.
Here are the main points about ANY c.v. of any sort for any job -
1. 90% of the battle
is having a proven and easily verifiable track record of success in the relevant field. Facts, dates, names. A good c.v. gets
to the point and is 100% factual. Do not include rubbish like honest, trustworthy, eager to learn, willing and the like, just
give the potential employer a list of things you have achieved.
2. People in the music industry (any many other like
the media and landscape gardening) create their own careers. There are NO jobs in the classical sense, as there are in banking,
retail, or manufacturing. (But approaching a studio or production company, armed with a well-written c.v. may be a good way
forward to setting up a working, freelance relationship.)
3. A good c.v. has a red-thread running through it that shows
a consistent and continuous interest in the field in question. Every position should be a logical progression from the one
4. A good c.v. shows hobbies that are outside the career and very different to that career. For an audio engineer,
karate, sailing, rock-climbing are good hobbies, collecting old microphones is a bad hobby to have.
5. A good c.v.
is ALWAYS written on paper - unless the prospective employer has clearly stated that he or she would prefer an email.
In that case, cut and paste all information into the email and do not attach a document in some format that the employer may
not be able to read.
6. Never ever write 'blind.' I get blind letters on a daily basis from people who seem to think
it is OK to address me as 'Sir or Madam' or 'To Whom it may Concern' or just 'Hi There!' This means that the person writing
has no structured idea about their career or how to go about developing such a career. They are wandering like lost little
sheep, hoping for a break and strewing letters of application like confetti. It also means that the employer is less likely
to want to talk to that person the next time around.
7. Have the right qualifications AND experience for the job. Do
not just assume that, because your college or tutor told you that the course will get you through that front door, that it
will. FIND OUT FOR YOURSELF! If you do not have the right qualifications, do not try to stagger on hoping that someone will
take you on despite this omission, go out and get them!
8. A position that requires an academic qualification, also
requires 100% correct spelling and grammar. This is especially true at the beginning of a career, where the employer has little
track record to go on. There are no exceptions to this rule - if you do not know the difference between were, where and we're;
their, there and they're, or between due to and owing to, you are blowing yourself out of the water before you have even started.
You are sending the employer two important messages: one - you have a poor education, two - you pay little attention to detail.
A good c.v. follows a personal one-on-one conversation with the employer who has expressed a desire to see that c.v.
Find out as much as you can about the company, before approaching them. Read the website, talk to their customers, listen
to stuff they have done.
10. If you do get to talk to an employer, ask questions about the position and about
the company. Listen carefully to what they have to say and write it down. That way, you will learn for the next interview.